Friday, October 26, 2012

Adventure Down the Rabbit Hole, Pt. 2 - Alice

I was planning on starting my Wonderland costume extravaganza with the Queen of Hearts, but that would mean that I need my oldest to be able to drop what she's doing every couple of minutes so that I can fit the muslin of the dress bodice and she's been inundated with homework. Ah, the travails of middle schoolers! Since she wasn't really available, I moved on to the Alice costume, since I knew it would require a bit of hand work for the hems and lining, and I like to have hand sewing to do whilst the small ones are at gymnastics and I sit in the bleachers, watching them.

I made a few alterations to this pattern to make it look the way that I wanted, but not a lot. The only change I made to the dress was the addition of a collar. There are many Alice patterns out there and the one I wanted had a dress with a collar and a separate pinafore. That one wasn't available at my local JoAnn's at the time, so I went with this one:

As you can see, this dress doesn't have a collar and the pinafore is not a separate piece. This pattern actually calls for the bib to be sewn directly to the bodice, with the apron skirt being a separate piece, sewn to a ribbon and then tied around the waist. I knew my Gwyneth was not about to go for that, since she is a stickler for authenticity as much as I am. I recalled a shirt in one of my back issues of Ottobre which has a similar collar and traced that out, but when I tried to see how it would fit with the dress neckline, it was clear that it wasn't going to work. So I skimmed through some other issues with the vague notion that there was a dress with a peter pan collar in one and, to my delight, found this dress:

I traced off the collar piece and added giant seam allowances. Normally I use a 1cm seam allowance with Europeans patterns, but the dress pattern had standard 5/8" seams, so I used that width in order to keep everything the same. The first try didn't work when I tried to attach it to the dress - the curve was too deep for it to lie properly. So I cut off the entire seam allowance and re-pinned it and found that it was the perfect size. Thank goodness, because I didn't have enough of the blue to make another one and was reluctant to go buy more. A make it work moment that worked out.

The pinafore was a different story. First, I curved the neckline slightly and used the size 7-8 for the bib. I wanted the bib to be in front and in back, so I cut 4 pieces and sewed the shoulders together in pairs, then stitched them together along the outer edges. Next I turned them right side out and used bias tape to bind the neckline. Unfortunately for me, the bias tape is slightly yellower in color than the bib of the pinafore, but I didn't notice that until I had sewn it on all the way. It really looked white when held next to the bib, so I'm not sure why there is that subtle color difference. Anyway, I used the pattern piece to cut the correct length of apron but I used the entire width of my fabric in order to make the apron skirt fuller. This was important to me, since the skirt of the dress is really quite full and I felt that the narrower width looked kind of skimpy against it. I gathered the top edge, then sewed narrow hems at the sides.

The pattern calls for a wide ribbon but my kids like their Halloween costumes to be dress-up clothing, and that means they get washed. Ribbons don't launder well, so I made a waist tie out of the same white muslin as the apron skirt and bib. I interfaced the portion that would be sewn to the skirt and bib, then sewed the skirt to one side and the bib to the other. I kind of just made it up as I went along, though I did use the pattern pieces as a guide.

All in all, a highly successful costume, in my opinion. The thing that was great about this one was that it did require a little bit of hand finishing, which allowed me to have some sewing to do while I watch the kids at gymnastics. I hate sitting there with nothing to do and I always feel like I'm wasting time that could be spent in front of my machine. Now that Alice is done, I'm moving on to the Red Queen. I lucked out, because Maeve is getting big enough that I don't have to do as many alterations to the adult-sized pattern in order to make it fit her, so I can pretty much just start cutting out. But I'll talk about that in a different post.

No comments:

Post a Comment